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Pragmatism or What? The Future of US Foreign Policy

David Milne, International Affairs | September 2012

Obama's foreign policy and the one that Romney promises are not too far off from one another. Both men are results-oriented pragmatists, emphasizing achieving results over pursuing agendas. Yet, according to David Milne, where they differ most concerns the foundations to their foreign policy approaches.

Obama attacks the dogma behind the policies of the Bush administration as stepped in passion and politics rather than reason. Still, he rejects Wilsonian idealism. Milne describes his foreign policy as reactive and carefully calculated, managed on a case-by-case basis. His trepidation in handling the outcries of the Arab Spring, or to not handle them at all as was the case with Bahrain, is evidence for his rejection of 'blanket policies'.

With little experience even reading or writing on the subject, Romney is clearly more of an amateur when it comes to foreign policy. Milne writes, "[He] is pursuing a bellicose strategy vis-à-vis Obama's alleged passivity because he believes it will resonate with voters - not because it comes from within." This platform strategy is one of centrism, seeking to reach to the widest audience possible by criticizing his opponent. Nonetheless, if Romney does win the upcoming elections, it is unlikely that his foreign policy will follow in the footsteps of the Bush administration or the will of neo-conservatives. In truth, he will probably "resist the temptation to evoke scenarios requiring strenuous military effort when the nation remains so mired in debt."

Read the full paper here.

David Milne is a senior lecturer in American political history at the University of East Anglia, UK. His first book is titled "America's Rasputin: Walt Rostow and the Vietnam War" and he is currently working on another, "Intellectualism in US Diplomacy".

 

 
 
Comments
Unregistered User

Thu, Sep 20th 2012, 04:56

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I like this comment! What's this?
"With little experience even reading or writing on the subject, Romney is clearly more of an amateur when it comes to foreign policy."

That's not what Milne said. That's what you said. Shame on you. This site is too smart to have hacks.
 
Unregistered User

Thu, Oct 25th 2012, 08:51

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I like this comment! What's this?
You're the graeetst! JMHO
 

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